By Kelly Young

Thanks to a brand new Web site, patrons of this year’s Tops in Texas Rodeo have been taking advantage of the fact that they can purchase tickets to this year’s entertainment performances online weeks before the ticket box office opens. So many people are choosing to use this feature, in fact, that tickets have already begun to sell out for the four concerts featured in this year’s rodeo.

“At this point it’s not possible to purchase your tickets directly from our Web site, but you can put in a ticket inquiry through the site, and once we have received your inquiry we will contact you and mail your tickets,” said Jeremy Harmel, president of the Jacksonville Rodeo Association. “This is allowing people to purchase tickets well before the ticket office opens on June 30.”

According to Harmel, ticket inquiries are “already flooding in,” with the premium box seats already sold out.

“Box seats for all four nights have all been sold already, but we still have plenty of side reserve and reserve seats available for each night,” he said.

Other features on the new site include a short history of the rodeo, links to the performers’ Web sites, a complete listing of events, ticket pricing information and an interactive map to the rodeo grounds.

This year, Tops in Texas will be participating in the Tough Enough to Wear Pink? breast cancer fund-raising drive. Proceeds from the event benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Harmel said he believes the new Web site will help drum-up extra business for the rodeo.

“I think it’s going to help our attendance this year because its a great source of information about the rodeo, and we are updating it constantly,” he said.

Rodeo organizers are currently working to get links to the Tops in Texas Rodeo placed on the Web sites of this year’s performers.

The performers at this year’s rodeo are a particularly accomplished bunch; Jacksonville-native Neal McCoy on Wednesday night, Chris Cagle on Friday night and Stoney LaRue on Saturday night. Thursday night will be Family Night.

“Based on the quality of performers we have this year, I think it’s going to generate a lot of interest in this year’s rodeo,” Harmel said. “We started getting inquires even before our advertising began, so I think that’s a great sign.”

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